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Landis positive: Reactions from Spain

By Antonio J. Salmerón

Fulgencio Sanchez, president of the Spanish Cycling Federation, said that the presumed positive of Floyd Landis in the Tour de France "is another hard blow against cycling, and there will be other ones".

Sanchez rejected the UCI's stance not to act until Landis' B sample is confirmed, saying "perhaps they prefer the scandals, before a renewed cycling".

Five-time winner of the Tour of France, Miguel Induráin, showed his surprise upon hearing the news that Floyd Landis could have his latest victory stripped from him. However, he told Spanish news agency EFE to be cautious until knowing the result of the B sample.

"I do not know what to say," said Induráin. "It is a rare for something like this to happen, but it is necessary to accept them."

"This does not benefit anybody," he added, emphasising the one most harmed is cycling itself.

Caisse D'Epargne-Illes Balears team manager, José Miguel Echávarri, said to Marca that "the Landis affair hurts me because our sport is damaged.

"We come [away] very satisfied from the Tour and now they make us reflect. Cycling is spectacle, and there has been that, although there has been a person who seems to have deceived [us]. There are many ways to be heroic; as well as being the first, [a hero is one] who arrives seven minutes later and is defeated."

Echávarri hopes "cycling is [still] alive. People must understand that times have changed. It is not an accusation against anybody, but cyclists have a short life and, sometimes, [they] want to optimise it."

Former Comunidad Valenciana assistant director, Ignacio Labarta, spoke to the Heraldo de Aragón about the case of Floyd Landis in light of the doping affair that preceded it, Operación Puerto.

"Cycling is one of the hardest sports, and perhaps, for this reason, it is closer to the subject of doping," said Labarta, "but, of course, we are not the only ones."

"Why is it always cycling implicated?" he asked.

"Cycling must gain respect. It must not be considered as the first one which took a step ahead in order to be controlled, but, except for the cross-country skiing, only cycling has done it. Later, the health controls arrived, but what happened with the rest of sports?

"The UCI also forced us to communicate which address we are at any time, as delinquents we are. We don't know how to defend ourselves."

As to his role on the Comunidad Valenciana team, Labarta explained: "I have worked until the 31st of May. I was the physical trainer and, sometimes, I also was the director. It is true that Eufemiano Fuentes has been doctor of Kelme, but I cannot believe that Kelme was involved in the Operación Puerto."

"I also had [a working] relationship with other riders, apart from the Comunidad Valenciana ones," he added. "I have not committed any crime. On his connection with doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, Labarta said: "My name appears on the summary [list] in relation to [certain] cyclists' names. I have many relations with Eufemiano, mainly of friendship, but also because he is some of my riders' doctor. Sometimes, we discussed our impressions of them."

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